Donald Trump and Ron DeSantis Joining Forces in 2024? It Won’t Work – The Republican Party’s presidential primary has become a clown show, with the two top candidates, former President Donald J. Trump, a representative of the past, and Florida’s Governor Ron DeSantis, the best chance for a successful future on the Right, tearing each other down.
It’s an all-around awful scenario.
That’s not to say that neither Donald Trump nor Ron DeSantis should have run.
They were right to run. But there should have been some sort of gentleman’s agreement before the race that the two men would keep the attacks on each other to a low (rather than the bar room brawl that it’s become).
The Hands-Off Approach Would’ve Been Better
Of course, President Trump is preternaturally incapable of playing by any semblance of a gentleman’s agreement.
What’s more, the hands-off approach that Trump has taken toward his other major GOP rival, biotech entrepreneur, Vivek Ramaswamy, is likely because no one takes Ramaswamy seriously.
In fact, irrespective of Ramaswamy’s strong polling numbers of late, I don’t believe that Ramaswamy is seriously running.
Everything he’s doing right now is to elevate his own political brand and to make a play for a senior position in the next Republican administration—perhaps even as Trump’s running-mate in 2024 (which won’t happen, by the way as Trump needs a woman to run as his number two).
Some in the press have asked Governor Ron DeSantis, whose campaign, sadly, appears to be imploding even before the first debate is set to take place (on August 23), if he’d be willing to run as Trump’s vice-presidential nominee.
DeSantis has emphatically refused.
Certainly, Trump wouldn’t accept the number two slot on a possible DeSantis ticket (if the Florida governor somehow managed to correct his faltering campaign, that is).
For Trump, it’s both ego and the absurdity of a former president running as a vice president.
In DeSantis’ case, his refusal to even countenance running as Trump’s VP has to do with the fact that he’s a decisive executive. While the vice-presidency is part of the executive branch, it has no real power (the example of Dick Cheney notwithstanding). DeSantis is basically the president of Florida, the fourth-largest economy in the United States. Why would he willingly abandon that position to become Trump’s punching bag?
Plus, given the history of Trump’s hires—as well as how poorly things ended between Trump and his first vice-president, Mike Pence—to say nothing of the deterioration in DeSantis’ relationship with Trump, it’s unlikely that DeSantis would ever risk the humiliation that’d come with working for Trump.
Beyond that, there’s the added constitutional issue.
According to the United States Constitution, two residents from the state are disallowed from running on a presidential ticket together. Even if the residency standards could be fudged (given Trump’s wealth and the fact that he owns multiple properties, this wouldn’t be too difficult for him to manipulate), neither man appears interested in engaging in such maneuverings to run together.
For Both Trump and DeSantis, 2024 is Their Only Shot at the White House
There’s simply too much bad blood and differing styles between the two men.
For Trump, he’s playing for keeps. The Administrative State is piling on with indictment upon indictment for the forty-fifth president.
They are trying to smother him in legal problems to complicate his bid to become the forty-seventh president in 2024. It just might work, given the cost of Trump’s mounting legal fees, and the fact that Trump is using his presidential campaign’s cash to pay for those increasing fees.
And with those legal problems that are piling up for Trump, the former president must win the White House so that he can pardon himself from the federal grand jury investigations he’s being subjected to (one for his alleged mishandling of classified documents and the other for his purported attempt to illegally overturn the results of the 2020 Presidential Election).
If Trump loses in 2024, there’s no guarantee that he’ll avoid the decades of prison time that’s associated with the two federal grand jury investigations Trump is being subjected to.
Ron DeSantis has an entirely different problem.
He’s soaked up massive amounts of donor cash over the last several months—so much so that if he were to drop out this early in the primary, should he decide to run for president again in 2028, Florida’s governor would be unable to secure financial support from the deep-pocketed donors on the Right.
Because he openly challenged the Republican Party’s beloved Donald Trump in 2024, should DeSantis fail to secure the nomination for himself in 2024, the GOP Primary voters would never forgive DeSantis, if he were to run again for president four years from now.
This presidential election, then, is DeSantis’ only real shot at the White House. Since Trump can’t play nice with DeSantis, and DeSantis, who still represents the future of the Republican Party, has this one chance at winning the White House, Florida’s governor must strike at the Republican Primary’s frontrunner, Donald Trump, harder than he thus far has.
DeSantis’ make-or-break moment is the first presidential primary debate on August 23.
While Trump is balking about not going to the debate because he’s so much farther ahead of his primary rivals in the polls, I suspect that he will, if only to keep himself relevant in the press during that time.
Should Trump be on the same debate stage as DeSantis, the Florida governor will have one—maybe two-chances to not only have a stand-out moment on stage, but to smash Trump.
There will never be a Trump-DeSantis ticket. It’s constitutionally disallowed. Even if it weren’t, these two men could never surmount the bad blood that now exists between them to work together. It must be either Trump or DeSantis in the GOP Primary.
Whoever loses the race will be permanently, politically dead.
If Trump is the loser, his days as a politician are over…and he might end up spending his remaining years in prison for the overzealous federal prosecutions with which President Joe Biden’s Department of Justice (DOJ) is presently smothering Trump.
Who Else Could It Be?
As Trump and DeSantis rip each other’s guts out in the opening phases of the Republican Primary, should Trump be taken out by one of the federal grand jury investigations he’s being subjected to (or by both of them), DeSantis would never get the nomination.
Trump’s voters would not support DeSantis, viewing him as a traitor. That’d leave a very establishment field (Mike Pence, Chris Christie, Nikki Haley, and Tim Scott) against the unserious non-establishment candidate, Vivek Ramaswamy.
In other words, like Trump, 2024 is DeSantis’ only real chance at the presidency.
And with the two strongest Republican candidates—either Trump or DeSantis—possibly out, the Democrats could nominate a zombie and they’d beat the Republicans still left standing (and with Joe Biden, they’ve come very close to having nominated a zombie).
Things are looking bleak for the GOP.
This is partly the nature of a multi-sided primary. It’s also, though, a problem of leadership in the Republican National Committee (RNC), which should have done a much better job of laying tighter ground rules for the primary that would prevent the immolation of the two top presidential candidates, Trump who represented the past and DeSantis who symbolized the future.
A 19FortyFive Senior Editor, Brandon J. Weichert is a former Congressional staffer and geopolitical analyst who is a contributor at The Washington Times, as well as at American Greatness and the Asia Times. He is the author of Winning Space: How America Remains a Superpower (Republic Book Publishers), Biohacked: China’s Race to Control Life (Encounter Books), and The Shadow War: Iran’s Quest for Supremacy (July 23). Weichert can be followed via Twitter @WeTheBrandon.